Norfolk pensioner racks up £800 in ULEZ and parking fines trying to collect caravan from Dorset

A pensioner managed to rack up more than £800 in traffic fines during a "comedy of errors" tour of the capital while trying to pick up a caravan he had bid for on the internet.

Roger Watts felt pretty pleased with himself when he realised his £750 offer for the second-hand camper had succeeded.

The 82-year-old cheerfully set off from his home in Norfolk planning to head straight to Dorset - a five-hour journey - where he would take possession of the caravan and tow it back home to join his collection.

"What I didn't allow for was that my sat nav was out of date - and so was I," he told ITV News Anglia.

To the pensioner's surprise, rather than skirting around the capital on the M25, he was directed into central London, somewhere he said he had not been "since the 1970s".

The caravan itself only cost Roger Watts £750 after he won an online auction. Credit: ITV News Anglia

That is where the trouble really started.

During a tour that lasted for the best part of two days, he unintentionally saw a variety of sights including Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

On the first day alone, Mr Watts, who has never left England, drove for 10-and-a-half hours, finally making it out of the traffic and on to a side road and parking up for the night on a residential street.

"To be honest with you, at no point did I know where I was," he chuckled, admitting he was not a fan of driving in London.

"It was chaos. Absolute chaos. All the while, everybody is on the horn. If you make a mistake, they don't have any compassion about it. You get locked in and you can't move out in any direction. We're not used to that kind of traffic."

Over the course of four days, Mr Watts spent two nights sleeping in his car in London - one on the residential street and another in a public car park - and spent £300 on diesel.

He did eventually make it to Dorset on the third day and, having bought a new sat nav in Ilford on his way home, the pensioner made it back to Norwich with his caravan.

He described the whole journey as "a nightmare" and a "comedy of errors", adding: "But you've got to laugh at it, haven't you?

"I don't know my left from my right, but then I always have fun."

But it was once he was safely back home - having checked in with his daughter - that the congestion charge and parking fines started to appear through the post.

As Mr Watts attempted to appeal the penalties - on the grounds he had not intentionally broken the rules - the total continued to climb.

The caravan needs a lot of work but Roger is determined to do it up and get out in it. Credit: ITV News Anglia

At its peak, the caravan lover was told he owed £810 - more than he had paid for his internet bounty.

After two appeals, that has now been reduced to just £37.50 and Mr Watts is feeling a little more content that his caravan remains a bargain.

Once he has done it up, he plans to take it for a bit of touring.

"I'm not going to go far," he added. "Cambridgeshire will be as far as I go. And next year I might get to Kent."

He certainly will not be going back to the capital.

"I don't advise anyone from this area to drive into London," he said. "Catch a train, get a bus. I shan't miss London."

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